Cape Bre­ton man re­turns stu­dent’s miss­ing en­ve­lope of cash.


When Sa­mual Shaji lost an en­ve­lope con­tain­ing the tips he’d earned as waiter over the hol­i­days, he was un­der­stand­ably dis­traught.

An in­ter­na­tional stu­dent at Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity, the 20-year-old was not only thou­sands of kilo­me­tres away from fam­ily and friends back in Ker­ala, India, he was now out more than $200.

“I had my pay­cheque in it. I was so dis­ap­pointed, so de­pressed,” Shaji told the Cape Bre­ton Post.

Then, karma paid a visit to the hard-work­ing col­lege stu­dent, who saved a Sydney Christ­mas pa­rade food drive in Novem­ber when he stepped in at the last minute and re­cruited badly needed vol­un­teers.

Ross Covey said he was at the Mayflower Mall on Jan. 3 wait­ing to take his mother home from a den­tist ap­point­ment. Killing time, he walked over to Mark’s Work Ware­house, did some shop­ping and was returning to the mall when some­thing on the ground caught his eye.

“It was at six in the evening, it was dark, snowy and blow­ing,” he re­called.

“I saw an en­ve­lope, gave it a kick and picked it up — I don’t even know what made me pick it up — looked in­side and there was $240.”

Shaji’s name was on writ­ten on the en­ve­lope but Covey said the writ­ing was a bit un­clear. After pon­der­ing how to re­turn the money to its right­ful owner, he took to Face­book and started typ­ing names. Soon he found Shaji’s pro­file.

“I looked him up on Face­book and I found him. It said he was a CBU stu­dent and he’s from an­other coun­try, and I thought that money could be a game-changer for that man,” said the 44-year-old Sydney res­i­dent, who is a man­ager at Sum­ner Plumb­ing Sup­ply. “I don’t know what his sit­u­a­tion is but I just felt I def­i­nitely had to get it back to him, that’s all.”

Covey sent Shaji a mes­sage ask­ing if he’s lost any­thing re­cently. Shaji replied that he had lost a yel­low en­ve­lope with cash in­side, and this week the two fi­nally met.

“He just couldn’t be­lieve that I would do that. There’s no way I could keep it. It’s his, it has his name on it, I’m go­ing to give it back to him. He was just su­per-happy,” Covey said.

“It felt great. I was su­per-happy. I just thought if that were me and I lost that money I would be so happy to get it back.”

Shaji said it’s one of many acts of kind­ness he’s ex­pe­ri­enced since mov­ing to Cape Bre­ton last year.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent, who is co-or­di­na­tor of the CBU stu­dent union’s mul­ti­cul­tural hub, said one per­son at the uni­ver­sity told him how a friend had called to ask how they could best wel­come new In­dian stu­dents to their neigh­bour­hood (It was sug­gested the per­son buy some In­dian sweets from a lo­cal mar­ket and bring them by). He said an­other lo­cal res­i­dent stepped up for some other stu­dents from India who’d been caught in a rental scam. The per­son took them to po­lice and even of­fered to help with le­gal fees. The stu­dents even­tu­ally got their money back.

“This much stu­dents would not be here, this place will not grow this fast if the Cape Bre­ton­ers doesn’t have that open mind that they have, that wel­come-ness that they have,” said Shaji, who told the Post he had a tough time ad­just­ing when he ini­tially ar­rived here last year.

“I was star­ing out my win­dow and ev­ery day I would cry. But now when I stand in that win­dow and I look out­side I see lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

These days, he sees him­self and other in­ter­na­tional stu­dents as mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

“It should be ban­nered as Capers. We are not In­di­ans, we are not Cana­di­ans, we are not Ja­panese, we are not Chi­nese, we are Capers and we are Cape Bre­ton­ers.” christo­[email protected]­post.com


Sa­mual Shaji sits at his desk at the mul­ti­cul­tural hub at Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity. The in­ter­na­tional stu­dent from India re­cently lost an en­ve­lope filled with cash that was re­turned to him by Sydney res­i­dent Ross Covey.


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